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THE   LIGHTHOUSE

thought Lily in despair, letting her right hand
fall at her side, it would be simpler then to have
it over. Surely she could imitate from recollec-
tion the glow, the rhapsody, the self-surrender
she had seen on so many women's faces (on Mrs.
Ramsay's, for instance) when on some occasion
like this they blazed up—she could remember
the look on Mrs. Ramsay's face—into a rapture
of sympathy, of delight in the reward they had,
which, though the reason of it escaped her,
evidently conferred on them the most supreme
bliss of which human nature was capable. Here
he was, stopped by her side. She would give
him what she could.

She seemed to have shrivelled slightly, he
thought. She looked a little skimpy, wispy; but
not unattractive. He liked her. There had
been some talk of her marrying William Bankes
once, but nothing had come of it. His wife had
been fond of her. He had been a little out of
temper too at breakfast. And then, and then—
this was one of those moments when an enormous
need urged him, without being conscious what
it was, to approach any woman, to force them, he
did not care how, his need was so great, to give
him what he wanted: sympathy.

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